You call him Doctor Jones!

Yeah, well, they may be closing the libraries and pricing us out of our own supermarkets, but we still know how to have a good time. How varied is the world of London poetry? I mean, are we stuffy? Are we forbidding? Do we sit in an ivory tower, mending our elbow patches and mumbling about scansion?

Or are we out on our adventures? Seizing the day, saving the treasure, braving the snakepits and the tumbling idols? Finding, recognising, saving the one vital object of everything? (That’ll be the NHS but everyone has to have a break sometime.)

Now think back. Think all the way back to the very first time you ever saw Indiana Jones. When was it? 1981? How old were you? 5? 35? (And I posit that the only way you were 35 when you first saw Indiana Jones it must be because you were 35 in 1981.) How  iconic is he?

I’m not going to get into that ‘iconic’ thing.* Indy is iconic: he is familiar to the point of near-ubiquity; he represents a mythical part of ourselves; he can be represented easily by a few symbols or signifiers; and his story is known to all, whether they believe or not. I’ve watched two generations of boys – my brother, and my kids – grow up with Indy. The Baroque brother, whose nickname in those innocent times (and in that innocent, all-American way) was ‘Butch’, I think loved Indy for his derring-do and swash, and – being who he is – for his scathing wit and apt rejoinders. Also, possibly, the hat. My middle offspring (recently re-christened Rock Star Boy, by yet another small boy) became obsessed, not with Raiders of the Lost Ark, but with the Last Crusade. It was very odd. He used to do this amazing impression of Indy’s dad – of course, played by Sean Connery – saying one line in particular. I’d have to see the film again to remember the exact line. Being me, I can picture the scene, and I remember the rhythm of the line, but not the words – but I remember it was very funny. This was also in his archaeologist phase; Indy was his missing link with the ancient myths and legends he loved so much, and of course he is that for everybody. Oh, and he didn’t take any shit from anybody. That’s really important when there are Nazis around.

It’s the power of the silver screen, folks!

I never worried, myself, about not identifying with the girls. This is another topic, but the girls were plainly not there to be identified with by girls – if Indy was a template for boys, they were not templates for anything. At least, if you thought they were I’d be very interested to hear about it. I was perfectly happy with wanting to be Indiana Jones too. (Talk about cultural alienation! As I said, it’s another story.)

So this event. It’s  more than just poetry. It’s intra-poetic culture. The details are above in the poster. If you are in London. The Penned in the Margins website  says:

Join a host of poets, performers, musicians and comedians for a monkey-brain-packed adventure through 30 years of Indiana Jones. Expect Indy trivia quizzes, prizes, an impromptu archaeology seminar and giant boulders. There will be a professional eyelid painter so you can flutter a message to our own in-house Dr. Jones (with only minor risk of exposure to tomb-raiding Nazis). Bring along an object for the Museum of Antiquities, try your hand at brass-rubbing and guessing the weight of the Golden Idol, find out what Marian Ravenwood really thought of Jones, and be careful not to drink the blood of Kali Ma. If that’s not enough whip-cracking Indynerd action for you, the entertainment will be followed by our stylish Obi-Wan Club DJs until late.

I can also reveal that jazz angel Gwyn Herbert will star as Wille, Indy’s squeeze from The Temple of Doom – and there will even be a live rendition of ‘Anything Goes’ – surely one of the best songs ever written.

I myself may not make it on the night – I’ve got this bizarre (for me) junket to Switzerland, of all places, to do a poetry reading on the Thursday, which will involve leaving at 5am on Thursday and getting home at midnight on Friday, so I anticipate possibly feeling a little jaded. But I may watch one of the movies in hommage… maybe I’ll get hold of some quiz questions afterwards, to share with you, dear readers.

* It was Tom Chivers himself, aka Mr Penned in the Margins, who wrote the wonderful satirical poem ‘Iconic’. Every time I use the word I think of that poem.

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